Blog / 2013

Christopher Fowler
New Year's Eve is the time to open that special bottle. Great Britain imports more champagne than anyone else in the world, but for the second year running sales are well down and continuing to fall. The French dug up over 40 villages to plant more champagne grapes when sales were booming, and are now stuck with a champagne lake. What happened? First came the artificial inflation of champagne…
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Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Great Britain & The Arts
Of all the things that take some explaining about British culture, one of the most complex and difficult is the traditional acceptance of drag. For as long as I can remember, men have dressed as women on national television, and have hosted family and kiddie TV shows. What's always been unique about this strand of comedy is that it's really smutty, but because it works on two levels, both for kids…
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Christopher Fowler
It must be Christmas, the press are forecasting 'misery journeys' and warning of gales and rainstorms, shops are offering 'panic sales' after poor forecasts, and everyone I know either has a virulent cold or has already left the country on an extended (two week) break that won't return them to London until January 6th. I'm in Barcelona, which is colder than London today, and the Guardian has…
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Christopher Fowler
Since 2008, when I started running this pub punch-up of a site (as well as posting on Twitter, Goodreads and two separate Facebook pages, I'll have you know) I've just realised that I've managed to clock up more than 3,000 separate pieces, usually posting at least one a day unless I'm travelling somewhere without technology, like Wales. The amount of time it takes out of my day means this is a…
12 comments
Christopher Fowler
Remember the eighties? If you do, you'll either recall a halcyon era awash with 'Loadsa Money', glass winebars and bad hair or a morally bankrupt time of tastelessness, selfishness and appalling greed. And for London, those times are clearly back again. Although this time around, there are a couple of new twists. It's no longer about selling off the family silver in the form of privatising public…
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Christopher Fowler
I've been searching for a new title for my upcoming standalone abduction thriller, so I conducted some research on nursery rhymes. These seem to be surprisingly finite in number and variety, and are defaulted to by parents even though their topicality and meaning has long been lost. I learned, for example, that 'Humpty-Dumpty' was supposedly the name of a Royalists' cannon used in the Siege of…
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Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Great Britain
Welcome to England, where for some, it's still 1935. Queen Charlotte's Ball was created so that the daughters of society's old-money families could make their social debut. The event was introduced by King George III in 1780 as a way to celebrate his wife's birthday. It was intended to help the ladies find a suitable husband. Incredibly, it's back. This week the Daily Mail ran several million…
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Christopher Fowler
Adult Literacy Table 1 Japan 2 Finland 3 Netherlands 4 Sweden 5 Australia 6 Norway 7 Estonia 8 Slovak Republic 9 Flanders 10 Canada 11 Czech Republic 12 Denmark 13 South Korea 14 England 15 Germany 16 United States 17 Austria 18 Poland 19 Ireland 20 France 21 Spain 22 Italy As usual with such listings, geographical, ethnic and density factors mitigate these results, with the most populous and…
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Christopher Fowler
Hurrah! The bible of God-awful places to live in Britain, 'Crap Towns', was produced by the creators of 'Modern Toss', and is now back for a second go-around in the latest volume, 'Crap Towns Returns'. Shockingly in at Number One is London, for its hopeless late night transport system consisting of minicabs, rickshaws and night buses, but it could equally have won for its litter and retina-searing…
19 comments
Christopher Fowler
Lately the conversation around me has been obsessed with the subject. Punishing days, psychotic bosses, unfeasible targets, sleepless nights, zero hour contracts, stress-related illnesses, hours far exceeding statutory regs...welcome to the world of the middle-class sweatshops. Our idea of bad working conditions used to extend to the image of 10 year-olds with bleeding hands making carpets in…
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